Located in one of the most active seismic and volcanic zones in the world, Japan is frequently affected by earthquakes and volcanic disasters.
JMA operationally monitors seismic and volcanic activity throughout the country and issues relevant warnings and information to mitigate damage caused by disasters related to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. To monitor earthquakes, JMA operates an earthquake observation network comprised of about 200 seismographs and 600 seismic intensity meters. It also collects data from over 3,600 seismic intensity meters managed by local governments and the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED). The data collected are input to the Earthquake Phenomena Observation System (EPOS) at the headquarters in Tokyo and the Osaka District Meteorological Observatory on a real-time basis. When an earthquake occurs, JMA immediately issues information on its hypocenter, magnitude and observed seismic intensity. This information also plays a vital role as a trigger for the initiation of rescue and relief operations related to earthquake disasters.
The Earthquake Early Warning system provides advance announcement of the estimated seismic intensity and expected arrival time of principal motion when an earthquake occurs.
The Earthquake Early Warning system is aimed at mitigating earthquake-related damage by allowing countermeasures such as promptly slowing down trains, controlling elevators to avoid danger and enabling people to quickly protect themselves in various environments such as factories, offices, houses and near cliffs.
To reduce and mitigate catastrophic losses caused by tsunamis, immediate provision of tsunami information for coastal regions is essential.
When an earthquake occurs, JMA estimates the possibility of tsunami generation from seismic observation data. If tsunamis are generated by seismic events far from Japan, the Agency engages in coordinated action with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii and issues warnings for long-propagating tsunamis.

The Tokai Earthquake (predicted to be as large as magnitude 8) is expected to occur in the near future along the trench near Suruga Bay, as huge earthquakes have historically struck every 100 - 150 years along the Suruga Trough and the Nankai Trough. Generally, earthquake prediction remains at the research stage except for that regarding the Tokai Earthquake. The mechanism of this earthquake is quite well understood, and observation of a pre-slip phenomenon is expected just before the earthquake itself. JMA issues information on the Tokai Earthquake, including its prediction, according to the Large-Scale Earthquake Countermeasures Act.
If any anomalies are detected in observational data, JMA issues Information on the Tokai Earthquake to enable preparatory action for disaster prevention by prefectural government headquarters. If any anomalous phenomena are suspected to be precursors to the Tokai Earthquake, JMA will convene the Earthquake Assessment Committee for Areas under Intensified Measures against Earthquake Disaster (consisting of leading seismologists), and will examine whether or not the anomaly is indeed a precursor. If the Committee concludes that the Tokai Earthquake is imminent, the Director-General of JMA will report this conclusion to the Prime Minister, who will then hold a Cabinet meeting and issue a warning declaration.
JMA began issuing Volcanic Warnings and Volcanic Forecasts for each active volcano in Japan on Dec 1, 2007 to mitigate damage from volcanic activity. Volcanic Warnings are issued in relation to expected volcanic disasters, and specify the municipalities where people need to take action.
The Coordinating Committee for Prediction of Volcanic Eruptions was established in 1974 under the Volcanic Eruption Prediction Plan. This system is tailor made to suit Indonesia and differs from other Tsunami Early Warning Systems as it uses new scientific procedures and technologies. As more than 90% of all tsunamis result from strong earthquakes, the system uses SeisComP3 software programme to determine within two minutes, the location and the magnitude of an earthquake.

GPS Buoys to work independently as measuring instruments for tsunami detection and as relay stations from planned 10 locations. Decision Support System (DSS) that compiles all available data, information and modeling flow to reach a decision on whether a tsunami warning is to be disseminated or not. On the basis of the available information, the responsible person on-duty in the Warning Centre can very quickly get an overview of the situation and generate suggestions to take a fast and reliable decision.
For technical reasons, getting earthquake information out to millions of cellphones, like you do with an Amber alert, is not so easy. This factor was taken as the prime consideration when developing the concept for the entire system.
Japan and Mexico both have earthquake warning systems that would at least give you a couple of seconds to get away from that giant plate glass window, for example. The necessity to have a reliable warning system was strongly felt after the December 26, 2004 tsunami that generated waves of up to 15 metres in height and even hit Somalia at a distance of about 4500 km from its epicenter near the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia.
80 million is not such much compared to the damage just one smaller earthquake can cause, but it just isn’t available.

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